WASHINGTON, DC – Citizens for a Secure and Safe America (C4SSA)is profoundly disturbed by the vicious murder of Noura Al-Ahmad, a pregnant teacher, and her eightyear-old daughter Rama in their home in the Al-Mishalla neighborhood of Raqqa onJanuary 16th.
It has been alleged by multiple sources that the perpetrators are connected to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the dominant de-facto military force in Raqqa, and leaders within the militias affiliated with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), who are reportedly attempting to cover up this heinous crime to avoid exposure of their involvement. The senseless murder of Noura and Rama sparked outrage as thousands took to the streets of Raqqa to demand accountability. This, in turn, provoked a curfew and a series of raids by the SDF in which they arrested at least 53 young men, according to the Syrian Observer. Local sources now claim that at least 120 demonstrators, including 3 women, have been arrested, and arbitrarily charged with dealing with ISIS.
While SDF sources report that the suspect has been arrested, local tribes allege that this was done to protect him from rioters, not for the sake of justice. Additionally, a security cordon has been imposed around the Central Prison, where the suspect is reportedly being held.
These murders come at a time of increasing SDF crackdowns and hostilities in predominantly Arab cities like Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, with reports of journalists and activists being threatened, imprisoned, and tortured, as well as expelled from the country, for speaking out on the issues in the area. Another extremely concerning practice by the SDF is the forced recruitment of minors to its ranks, as well as the utilization of torture and execution against dissident civilians who refuse to align with the group’s ideology. Many protests continue to surface despite the totalitarian rule, with the SDF cracking down on these demonstrations numerous times. Many elements and key personnel who were essential in the D-ISIS campaign have been marginalized and some have been targeted. With no constructive and meaningful inclusion and dialogue between the different ethnic elements of the northeast region’s population, the area will remain an unstable breeding ground for extremism and dissent, and many more innocent civilians will become casualties to the corrupt system. C4SSA demands justice for Noura and Rama and urges immediate action to stop the brutality of the SDF and their affiliates.